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Environmental Studies Critical Thinking, Research Paper Example

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Introduction

China has an abundant supply of coal (fossil fuels) and uses this as a prime source for generating electric power.  This despite global concerns of CO2 emissions that are contributing to global climate change conditions.  China is using this resource to a maximum in order to power its emerging wealth and economy despite protests and international concerns.  They are not alone in this mass production of resources. Canada continues to contributes masses of environmental pollution from its Tar Sands oil extraction projects and the USA with heavy industry. It is considered that we now need to find alternative more sustainable sources of clean energy if we are to safeguard the future of our planet.

China’s Position

China is considered to have the world’s largest carbon footprint. In Copenhagen they stated that they are committed to decisive action “ China announced that it would cut emissions of carbon relative to economic growth by 40% to 45% by 2020 compared with 2005 levels” (Watts, J.2011). Despite this being a step in the right direction, by the Chinese Government, the US and Europe felt that the cuts did not go far enough “European and US negotiators, who have indicated that anything below 50% would represent a less ambitious target than its current efforts to improve energy efficiency” (Watts, J. 2009).

One of the main issues with carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is that it can take up to 100 years in order to disperse. Hence if we stopped CO2 emissions today we could not determine the impact for many decades to come. The European Commission (EU) hopes that by reducing emissions, on average, by -30% by 2020 it will provide a 50/50 chance of reducing global temperatures by 2 degrees C.  It is not too late to take action to prevent global warming and climate change but the reality is that we are now into damage control or damage limitation and our climate will be very different in just 20 years from now.  (BBC News, 2012).

Conclusion

We have almost past the tipping point in being able to deal with the ramifications of climate change and global warming.  In China’s case it will certainly be too little and too late.

Works Cited

BBC News. (2012, 3 23). Climate Change. Retrieved from BBC News: http://www.bbc.co.uk/climate/evidence/too_late.shtml

Watts, J. (2011, 3 17). Guardian UK. Retrieved 9 26, 2010

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